Quinn: A Likely Top-Three Pick

Flip on the television. I bet you can't cycle through every station you have without seeing Brady Quinn's mug somewhere. Listen to sports talk radio, his voice or name comes up every hour. The personable former Notre Dame quarterback is everywhere. Peyton Manning couldn't hold a candle to Quinn lately.

A marketing team's dream, Quinn will finally realize his own dream on Saturday, the first day of the NFL Draft. Did all the recent face time help Quinn's draft stock?

"The media stuff doesn't work at all," Scout.com's NFL draft expert Tom Marino said. Marino was once the NFL's youngest scout, and is a 30-year veteran. "Its all been done. Thursday is the last day. Most teams will give their people Friday off. I don't think that stuff effects them. They've done their due diligence."

NFL teams spend a million dollars a year, give or take, in scouting according to Marino. They should have everything figured out by now, so everything is just banking on what the Oakland Raiders will do with Saturday's first pick.

It probably won't be Quinn. That pick appears to be between LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, or Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson. Who is Al Davis's man?

Marino thinks it's going to be Johnson, who he ranks as the best player in the 2007 draft class. If that happens, Quinn could be off the board before Russell, the anticipated first pick by many. Reports say that the Detroit Lions would like to shop the No. 2 pick, but if Calvin Johnson is taken by the Raiders, not many teams are going to want to trade up for one of the quarterbacks. Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas is the probable pick.

"He could go No. 1 or No. 2, but I don't think he'll go No. 1," Marino said of Quinn. "I think they are going to go with the wide receiver. If that would be the case I don't see him getting past Cleveland at No. 3. I don't know if Detroit will go in that direction of a quarterback, but maybe they will if they think somebody will take (Stanford's) Trent Edwards late in the first round and he won't be available to them when they pick again."

Just like you can bet on seeing Quinn's face on television all day today, you can assume that Romeo Crennel, the Cleveland Brown's head coach who is from the same coaching tree as Charlie Weis will take Quinn over Russell if both are on the board. With the Browns signing Jamal Lewis in the off season, they appear to be set at the running back position, and will likely pass on Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and draft a quarterback in the first round.

"Crennel is on the hot seat right now," Marino said. "They don't have the time to wait and groom a guy. Maybe Russell will be better than Quinn, but I know one thing, they can't wait. They have to throw this kid in there and he has to function."

Quinn has proved the last two seasons under Weis that he can indeed function, and is the more polished guy between him and Russell. The owner of 36 school records, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound Dublin, Ohio product would be a huge marketing piece back in his home state if he does indeed go to the Browns.

Working out of a pro-style offense the past two seasons, Quinn has been through an NFL format, and has the backing from the highly respected Weis that he could play right away in the league.

"He's been coached hard," Marino stated. "He hasn't been babied during the week. Charlie put pressure on him, and I think that is important when you don't baby them during the week. If you play touch football during the week you are more likely to play touch football on Saturday. Quinn is game ready."

If the Browns don't take Quinn if available like Marino thinks they will, he doesn't see him falling out of the top 10.

"Brady has great qualities," Marino said. "He is very bright and very good athlete for the position. Can escape trouble and make things happens with his feet, make good throws, and he is a competitive son of a gun. He is in a nice system and Charlie is a hell of a coach. He won some games for them, that I don't think they would've won if he wasn't there."

A compliment Marino isn't so ready to hand out to Russell, who he still has ranked higher than Quinn.

"I've seen him look good and I've seen him look bad," Marino said. "I've only seen him bring a team back once, and he was lucky to do it. He won one game, the game against Tennessee this year, and a guy tipped the ball and went through his hands and the receiver caught the ball and ran with it. He looked ordinary against Auburn and against Florida, and he is not a quick study. He is an enormously talented athlete."

So teams will have to decide if they can wait on Russell's development if they do indeed feel that he has a higher ceiling than Quinn, or go with the guy that appears to be game ready for the opener.

Quinn isn't the only former Irish player that will hear his name this weekend, and Marino commented on where he thinks those guys will go. He sees defensive end Victor Abiamiri as the next one off the board, going in the second or third round. Offensive tackle Ryan Harris is a likely third round selection, capping off the first-day draft picks. Defensive tackle Derek Landri is a fourth-round guy according to Marino, with running back Darius Walker hearing his name in the fifth. He's got offensive guard Dan Santucci, receiver Rhema McKnight and safety Chinedum Ndukwe going in the sixth or seventh rounds.

"I they all will make teams," Marino said.

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